‘A Place Further than the Universe’, ‘Maquia’ wins Top Anime Titles in the 5th Anime Trending Awards

ZAMA MIRO! The girls of Antarctica made history as A Place Further than the Universe becomes the first ever Winter Anime to win as Anime of the Year (AOTY). It led Zombie Land Saga by just over 96 votes – the third smallest lead in an AOTY Race.  Aside from winning the top prize, A Place Further than the Universe became the inaugural winner of the award for Best in Ensemble – an award given to the anime with the best overall voice cast – and won as Action or Adventure Anime of the Year.

The anime’s AOTY win makes it just the 2nd time that an AOTY winner did not win in the seasonal awards. It only placed 4th during Winter 2018, losing then to Laid-Back Camp which won that season but for this year’s AOTY Race, placed 7th. Together with Zombie Land Saga, this marks the first time that both of the #1 and #2 AOTY are original animation.

The Antarctica Girls were ahead by 94 votes over the Zombie Idols

Meanwhile, it’s beginner’s luck for Mari Okada, as her debut film as a director, Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms, wins the award for Anime Movie of the Year (AMOTY). Maquia received 141 votes over I Want to Eat Your Pancreas,despite the latter having the “last recall advantage,” as it was the latest film to be released on digitally or on Blu-Ray and be seen by many.  PA Works, on its official English Twitter account, thank all those who watch the film and wished that it has left a special place on their hearts.

Together with the director of A Place Further than the Universe, Atsuko Ishizuka, this marks the first time that both of the winners of the Top Anime Awards were directed by women.


Great Year for Winter Anime, the worst for Spring

The victory of A Place serves as the icing on top among the overall performance of all the Winter 2018 nominees for AOTY. A week before the Awards Night, Anime Trending released the Top 10 Finalist for AOTY and astonishingly, all the AOTY delegates from Winter 2018 got in, while all Spring 2018 anime were eliminated. It’s quite a reverse of fate among the two seasons, considering that Winter has gained a reputation of always being the weakest season, while Spring is known to be a powerhouse season among the community.  

Violet Evergarden finished at 4th place and was one of the shows that took home the most number of awards, as it won 4 during the night. Laid-Back Camp placed 7th and, though it did not win any award in the ceremonies, it did have some close calls, notably for Opening Theme Song of the Year with “SHINY DAYS” by Asaka – which won Winter 2018’s best Opening Theme Song – and only lost by 8 votes to “Kimi no Sei” by the peggies, the OP of Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai. “ref;rain” by Aimer for Love is Like After the Rain, another Winter 2018 Anime, won as the Ending Theme Song of the Year, making it as Aimer’s 2nd Theme Song Award. The first time she won was with Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works (2015) when she sang the show’s OP, “Brave Shine”. Finally, DARLING in the FRANXX, whose second half received … quite a response, manages to finish at 10th place.

Among the Spring 2018 AOTY nominees, the seasonal winner Tada Never Falls in Love is once again the one who led over the batch, placing 11th, and then trailed again by Steins;Gate at 12th – which won as the Mystery or Psychological Anime of the Year. The other two Spring anime, Hinamatsuri and SAO Alternative: Gun Gale Online, occupies the last two places at 16th and 17th respectively.


Grand Slam for Mai Sakurajima

After winning the Best Girl award in the Crunchyroll Anime Awards, Mai Sakurajima (Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai) went on to become this year’s unanimous Best Girl as she also won the Girl of the Year of the 5th Anime Trending Awards (ATA), narrowly beating Historia Reiss (Attack on Titan S3), who was looking to level up from being last edition’s Best Supporting Girl, by just 64 votes.  Along with her boyfriend, Sakuta Azusagawa, they went on to also win the Couple Ship of the Year award for the show, denying Ash Lynx and Eiji Okumura (Banana Fish) the chance to be this the first ever same-sex ship to win the award, though at least they were able to win it for a seasonal award.


Azusagawa won’t be able to join Sakurajima again though on the stage later as Koutarou Tatsumi (Zombie Land Saga) did his hometown Saga proud as he takes home the award for Man of the Year, winning it by over 148 votes over Ash Lynx, making him –presumably – the oldest mortal character to win the award and break from a tradition of high school students winning.  Tatsumi’s voice actor, Mamoru Miyano, also won the award for Best Voice Acting Performance by a Male, as did Sakurajima’s voice actress, Asami Seto, who won as Miyano’s counterpart.

Just like Tatsumi, Goro saves the day for DARLING in the FRANXX as he gave the show its only trophy for the night,winning as the Supporting Man of the Year. GoBro, as most would fondly call him, was also the most voted nominee, winning the hearts of 8,141 people. Though almost placing last for AOTY, Hinamatsuri still took home the trophy for Supporting Girl of the Year with Anzu, dubbed as everyone’s favorite daughter, who wonby a landslide, leading by 354 votes over the equally adorable Platelet (Cells at Work!). Though her age is not yet disclosed, physical appearance wise,Anzu would be the youngest


Violet Evergarden dominates the Aspect Awards

To the disappointment of its fans, Violet Evergarden failed to win the grand title of Anime of the Year but they at least have something to be proud about as the show dominated the Aspect Awards: winning 3 out of 6, which includes Best Animation Effects and Sequences, Best in Character Design, and Best Sceneries and Visuals. It also won as Drama Anime of the Year, bringing their trophy count to 4.

Meanwhile, Zombie Land Saga’s Original Soundtrack (OST) Composer, Yasuharu Takanashi, was thankful and surprised that he won the award for Best Soundtrack as he expressed on his official Twitter account.  Takanashi’s previous works include compositions for popular shonen anime like Naruto and Fairy Tail. He beat the equally well-known Hiroyuki Sawano, who composed Attack on Titan’s OST, by 203 votes, marking the 5th time in a row that Sawano finished as a runner-up. Sawano previously lost to Jin (Mekakucity Actors) in 2015, Taisei Iwasaki (Blood Blockade Battlefront) in 2016, Yuki Hayashi (Kiznaiver) in 2017, and Kevin Penkin (Made in Abyss) in 2018.


Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai took home yet another award – this time for Best in Adaptation, written by Masahiro Yokotani.


Always the Bridesmaid but never the Bride

Ash lost to Koutarou in the “MAPPA Boys Derby”


With them almost having the same fanbase composition, could Ash and Eiji have won if only Touko and Yuu were not nominated?

Aside from having close calls for Man of the Year and Couple Ship of the Year, Banana Fish had many other close encounters with a trophy, Lynx’s Voice Actor, Yuuma Uchida,was almost able to get one too – only to lose to Mamoru Miyano. The anime had rarely ranked below #4 in most of its nominations and made them almost look like Arsenal, a popular English football club, or even Mista (Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure) – all notoriously known for seemingly having an affair with #4.

Lynx and Okumura’s fallen brother, Shorter Wong, placed 4th for Supporting Man of the Year, “Found and Lost” by Survive Said the Prophet placed 4th for Opening Theme Song of the Year, as well as “Prayer X” by King Gnu for Ending Theme Song of the Year. The show’s soundtrack also placed 4th.

For their other nomination, Banana Fish placed 3rd for Best in Adaptation, 5th for Best in Ensemble, 7th for Best in Sceneries and Visuals, 6th for Action or Adventure Anime of the Year, and 3rd for Drama Anime of the Year.


On One Stage: Attack on Titan vs Sword Art Online

For the first time ever, two of this decade’s most talked about anime have met in an Anime Trending Poll, which are none other than Sword Art Online and Attack on Titan. The affair can be somewhat considered a tie as although Attack on Titan is the only one among the two who brought a trophy home, winning Sequel or New Season Anime of the Year. Sword Art Online finished ahead of Attack on Titan in the most important title of all which of course is the Anime of the Year, the former placing 8th with 1,988 votes, the latter finishing at 9th with 1,809 votes.


Sword Art Online edges Attack on Titan in the most important award of the night by 179 votes



Moving on to the other side categories, SSSS.Gridman’s win for the SciFi or Mecha Anime of the Year award is perhaps the biggest upset of the awards night as it beats DARLING in the FRANXX for the title – both being produced by TRIGGER, by 150 votes. Another surprise of the night was HANEBADO!, which despite not winning anything, it finished one rank behind the winner in each of the categories it was nominated in, including Sports Anime of the Year, which Megalo Box amazingly won and most notably Best in Animation Effects and Sequences, where the show finished ahead of Attack on Titan which placed 3rd.  


The popularity of Platelets and the educational aspects gave Cells at Work! a close advantage to win Slice of Life Anime of the Year over the girls of Laid-Back Camp, which it leads over by 107 votes. That Time I got Reincarnated as a Slime prevented Violet Evergarden to have a perfect record in the Side Categories, as the former went on to win the award for Fantasy or Magical Anime of the Year, primarily boosted by a human turned slime, Rimuru Tempest,who placed 4th in the Man of the Year Race.


Though it did not win the Anime of the Year, Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai did take home the most number of awards, as it also won as the Romance Anime of the Year and Supernatural Anime of the Year, bringing its trophy tally to 7, which is also the most in a single ATA Awards Night.  


That tally is followed by Zombie Land Saga, which went on to win two side category awards including Music Anime of the Year and Original Anime of the Year. Ironically, it won as Best Original and beat A Place Further than the Universe but was beaten back for the Anime of the Year Award. It almost won the Comedy Anime of the Year too, only to lose to the funny girls of Asobi Asobase –workshop of fun–.  Despite almost winning as Anime of the Year but only ending up as a runner-up, It was still an excellent performance for the Zombie Idols, as no one expected that an idol anime would actually go this far. This became the first ever idol anime to win as Anime of the Season back in Fall 2018 and made many of those who were not into idol anime watch an idol anime for the first time in their lives.  


Zombie Girls vs Antarctica Girls Part I



Most Successful Anime Trending Awards to date

Overall, the 5th Anime Trending Awards was a success, with the livestream view counts during the time peaking at 518 – the most in AT’s History. The fanarts featured were also a huge success, being liked by more than 6K people on Facebook and shared by thousands. The reception was also great with some of the recipients commenting and appreciating their award. 

Special thanks to Shout! Factory with the anime sale in celebration of the award. Check out the Anime Movie of the Year winner, Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms on blu-ray and DVD.  

Full List of Winners can be found here

Full Results can be found here


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